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Leah Nelson - CHAMPS Associate Director



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An engaging performer and inspired educator, Austin native Leah Nelson has become a highly sought after violist. Leah has performed throughout the United States including Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a chamber musician she performs with the Felix String Quartet and collaborates regularly with other artists in the Austin Texas area. Leah enjoys working with a wide variety of musicians. She has toured with Andrea Bocelli and Trans Siberian Orchestra, performed with Barry Manilow and Willie Nelson, and recorded with the Grammy nominated band Devotchka. Here in Austin Leah works frequently with composer Graham Reynolds and can be heard on the sound track to the movie Bernie, directed by Richard Linklater. As an orchestral musician, Leah has performed regularly with the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, the New West Symphony and the American Youth Symphony.

Leah began her professional studies at the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance under the tutelage of Roger Myers. Ms. Nelson holds a Master of Music degree as well from the University of Southern California where she studied with the world-renowned performer and pedagogue Donald McInnes. In addition Leah has also studied at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena Italy under the great Russian violist Yuri Bashmet.

Leah is an alumna of the CHAMPS program. Growing up in Austin she attended Austin High School and had the opportunity to work with Robert Rudie as her string quartet coach in 11th and 12th grade. In addition to being Assistant Director for the CHAMPS program she is also on faculty with the Austin Chamber Music Center and works as a guest clinician at many schools in and around the Austin area. She has held a thriving private studio for over a decade.